Trespassing Refresher

Trespassing Refresher

Aaron prepares for a photograph outside of the right of way.

As all railfans know trespassing on railroad property is not an accepted practice.  From time to time its good to have refresher about this and Joe Perry of chasingsteel.com got that refresher a few weeks ago.  Joe had the opportunity to attend a session on the role of the special agent put on by the Union Pacific in San Bernardino.  I recommend dogcaught readers take a few moments to read Joe’s summary of the presentation as I think it gives a good insight to the railroad and special agent’s point of view and offers a refresher on trespassing.

[tags] train, railroad, railfan, photo, photography, trespassing [/tags]

Pac Ride

With the merger partner logos on the side of the locomotive fading badly the nose emblem is becoming the most interesting part of the 2075.

Pac Ride

[tags] train, railroad, railfan, photo, photography, BNSF, Pacific Pride, merger [/tags]

Mocassin, MT – Agri-hub

IMG_7267

United Harvest Elevator, Moccasin, MT

So maybe this post’s title is a bit presumptuous but in Central Montana having a multi use track in 2010 is pretty big news.  In a January 11 article, the Lewistown News-Argus (covering Central Montana like the stars!) reports that Central Montana Cooperatives is planning to build a fertilizer hub on the loop track at Moccasin (known as Grove, symbol GVE to BNSF).  The loop track is currently home to United Harvest’s elevator which loads unit grain trains throughout the year.  The two facilities will certainly make Moccasin a much busier stop on BNSF’s Laurel Sub and will increase its importance to agriculture in the area.

Grove Elevator

Coming Soon – Fertilizer

This new facility will likely improve Central Montana Cooperatives’ delivery efficiency thanks to reduced costs to ship bulk product.  Obviously lower or steady production costs will make farmers in the area quite happy. 

With all this good news I want to stop for a minute and consider the other player in the railroad game at Moccasin, the Central Montana Railroad.  They make their living on the carload business distributed to smaller communities along their line.  With the addition of the fertilizer hub what’s going to happen to them when a co-op in Geraldine decides to truck fertilizer from Moccasin because its cheaper?  CMR and the State of Montana are already in a tussle with BNSF over subsidy payments so I’m afraid that the grain shipping business already lost, the subsidy payments lost, and now the potential for the fertilizer business to be lost may not be good for the future of the CMR freight business.

Grove Loop

Moccasin Loop

As a railfan I certainly don’t want to see the CMR lose more business and disappear.  Their line is one of the few operating pieces of the famed Milwaukee Road that still operates 30 years gone and has many scenic highlights that are hard to find anywhere else.  On top of that they host the Charlie Russell Chew Choo that is not to be missed on a visit to the region.

The CMR aside the fertilizer hub is still good for business in Central Montana and should be looked at positively for Central Montana and Moccasin.   It may however be one straw too many for some in the region.

[tags] train, railroad, railfan, photo, photography, montana, grain, fertilizer, community, farming [/tags]

Maintenance on the Seattle Side

Looks like BNSF’s Seattle sub maintenance project is now in progress.  Ties litter the right of way from Vancouver to Ridgefield and there is plenty of MOW activity around.  Looks like a busy couple of months on the Seattle sub.

[tags] train, railroad, railfan, photo, photography, BNSF, maintenance [/tags]

Sixth Street

Sixth Street

Amtrak train 27 passes over the venerable 6th St. overpass

Modern, elegant, and stylish or old, boxy, and crumbling.  How would you describe the railroad underpass at Sixth St. in Vancouver?  I’m afraid I’d have to go with the latter three descriptions just based on appearance.   Each time I drive under it I question its strength though I’m sure that its design and construction is sufficient because the trestle still does its job just fine.  I guess I’m spoiled by more modern construction that looks far more substantial and overbuilt…especially in the railroad arena.

I thought it would be a good idea to start capturing some images of this structure since over the next few years it will be replaced as part of the re-development of the former Boise Cascade paper plant site.  From what Aaron and I gathered at the open house last winter there will be a shoo fly in place for several years while the new structure is constructed.  The new lead for the Port of Vancouver is being built with a very nice overpass structure at 6th St. and 4th St. which should allow for two 10-12 ft. auto lanes plus a bicycle lane.  Oh, and the clearance appears to be much more modern than the current 8′ 8″ height.  It will be nice to be able to pass under this without having to remove the railroad radio antenna from my rig!

[tags]  trains , railroad, railfan, photo, photography, amtrak, vancouver, washington [/tags]